New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
METTLER v. STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2020-058-024, Claim No. NONE, Motion No. M-94998

Synopsis

Motion for permission to serve and file a late claim denied as unnecessary; claim was timely served and filed.

Case information

UID: 2020-058-024
Claimant(s): PAUL METTLER
Claimant short name: METTLER
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): NONE
Motion number(s): M-94998
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: CATHERINE E. LEAHY-SCOTT
Claimant's attorney: Paul Mettler, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: Hon. Letitia James, Attorney General
By: Albert D. DiGiacomo, Esq., Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: May 6, 2020
City: Albany
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

On December 4, 2019, the Chief Clerk of the Court received one mailing from pro se Movant Paul Mettler containing the following documents: (1) an unsigned and undated Notice of Motion seeking permission to serve and file a late claim, (2) a Verified Claim, (3) an application for poor person relief, (4) an affidavit of service, and (5) a Notice of Intent to File a Claim. The Claim alleges that Movant was wrongfully confined in the Special Housing Unit at Hale Creek Correctional Facility for 90 days following a false positive urinalysis test result (see Claim 2, Notice of Mot, attach). The Claim alleges that the cause of action accrued on September 14, 2019 (see id. 4).

The Chief Clerk treated Movant's entire submission as a motion seeking permission to serve and file a late claim (M-94998). In response to the Chief Clerk's letter calendaring the motion, Movant sent a letter to the undersigned claiming that "[his] case should not be heard as a late claim because [he] filed all of the necessary documents for filing a notice of intent within [90] days of the incident" (Movant's Ltr, dated Jan. 2, 2020). Defendant opposes the motion arguing, among other things, that it is procedurally defective because the Notice of Motion is unsigned and undated and the motion is unsupported by an affidavit (see Affirmation of Albert D. DiGiacomo, Esq., in Opposition 3-4).

Court of Claims Act 11 (a) (i) provides that a "claim shall be filed with the clerk of the court; and . . . a copy shall be served personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested, upon the attorney general within the times hereinbefore provided for filing with the clerk of the court." "A claimant seeking to recover damages for personal injuries caused by the negligence, intentional tort or unintentional tort of an officer or employee of the State must file and serve a claim or, alternatively, a notice of intention to file such a claim, upon the Attorney General within 90 days after the accrual thereof" (Maude V. v New York State Off. of Children & Family Servs., 82 AD3d 1468, 1469 [3d Dept 2011]; see Court of Claims Act 10 [3], [3-b]).

The Verified Claim attached to the motion states that the Claim for wrongful confinement accrued on September 14, 2019 (see Claim 4, Notice of Mot, attach). This Claim was filed on December 4, 2019, within 90 days of accrual in accordance with Court of Claims Act 10 (3-b). Additionally, the affidavit of service attached to the motion indicates that the Claim was timely served upon the Office of the New York State Attorney General on November 19, 2019 (see Aff of Service, Notice of Mot, attach). Because the Claim was timely served and filed, the motion is denied as unnecessary (see Ambrose v State of New York, UID No. 2015-045-025 [Ct Cl, Lopez-Summa, J., July 29, 2015]).

Accordingly, the Clerk of the Court is directed to deem the Claim attached to Movant's motion papers as the Claim on the date the motion papers were filed. Although deemed timely filed, the Claim remains subject to any jurisdictional objections Defendant may have (see Cangiolosi v State of New York, UID No. 2014-045-023 [Ct Cl, Lopez-Summa, J., July 25, 2014]). The Clerk is also directed to process the poor person application which accompanied Movant's motion. Defendant is directed to serve and file its Verified Answer within forty (40) days of the date of filing of this Decision and Order as such date may be effected and extended by the Administrative Order of Acting Presiding Justice Richard E. Sise dated March 16, 2020, which tolls such time limitation period, and until such order expires..

Accordingly, it is hereby

ORDERED that Motion No. M-94998 is denied in its entirety; and it is further

ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court is directed to deem the proposed claim attached to Movant's motion papers as a Claim on the date the motion papers were filed. The Claim shall be subject to any jurisdictional objections Defendant may have; and it is further

ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court is directed to process the poor person application which accompanied Movant's motion; and it is further

ORDERED that Defendant is directed to serve and file its Verified Answer within forty (40) days of the date of filing of this Decision and Order as such date may be effected and extended by the Administrative Order of Acting Presiding Justice Richard E. Sise dated March 16, 2020, which tolls such time limitation period, and until such order expires.

May 6, 2020

Albany, New York

CATHERINE E. LEAHY-SCOTT

Judge of the Court of Claims

The Court has considered the following in deciding this motion:

(1) Notice of Motion, filed December 4, 2019, with attachments thereto.

(2) Movant's letter dated January 2, 2020.

(3) Affirmation of Albert D. DiGiacomo, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, in Opposition, dated March 2, 2020.